A few weeks ago, I took some quiet time for 24 hours. During that time I discovered an unexpectedly compelling and captivating book Choose Yourself, in which I discovered that the author, James Altucher, had some great insight into burnout.
Not only did he provide a really interesting take on burnout, but James has a writing style that makes you want to keep reading just one more page, even if you don’t agree with all that he is saying.
This man knows how to string an engaging sentence together and he had me hooked from page 1 right through to the end.
Here are 5 great points I picked up from James Altucher on what burnout is and how to heal it.
1. A FLAME THAT HAS EXTINGUISHED = BURNOUT.
“I would cling to whatever addiction was making me happy at that moment. A fire sucks the oxygen out of everything in the room. When the oxygen is gone, the fire is extinguished. Then burnout occurs. That’s addiction.” James Altucher p.43 Choose Yourself.
I think it is all too easy for us to think of addiction as only physical addiction, but it really does come in all forms. One of my biggest addictions was people pleasing. I so wanted to please my ex-partner, that I stayed in a business with her, that was not working – for many years!!
I was working around 25-30 hours a week for next to nothing, and then started my paid working week so that I could support myself financially. Crazy, crazy, crazy. These choices over an extended period of time, totally extinguished my flame, the result was bankruptcy and major burnout (adrenal fatigue).
The addiction of people pleasing extinguished my fire. The result was burnout.
2. YOU NEED TO CULTIVATE YOUR OWN INTERNAL FIRE.
“The only real fire to cultivate is the fire inside of you. Nothing external will cultivate it. The greater your internal fire is, the more people will want it. Every time you say yes to something you don’t want, your fire starts to go away. You will get burned out.” James Altucher p.45 Choose Yourself.
I love this analogy of the fire. It really is the case that as you do too much for others, don’t take care of yourself, do things that don’t fuel and excite you – your fire literally diminishes inside of you. However, as you do things that excite you and put yourself in situations and with people that make you feel good, your fire burns brightly.
It really is something you need to constantly keep in check.
Some daily questions to ask yourself,
- Where do I need to brighten my fire today?
- What area of my life needs my attention?
3. ONLY DO THINGS YOU ENJOY.
“I mean it down to your very thoughts. Only think about the people you enjoy. Only read the books you enjoy, that make you happy to be human. Only go to the events that actually make you laugh or fall in love. Only deal with the people who love you back, who are winners and want you to win too.” James Altucher p.44 Choose Yourself.
Yes, yes, yes! I totally agree with James Altucher, and I am a great proponent of this for myself and for you!
The thing is, why do you do things you don’t enjoy – probably to please others, right! Well, not anymore. You need to take back your life and spend time on what you desire.
These days, I ask myself if a person or situation is for the Highest Good of my soul. Does it feel right for me, does it feel good for me? If not, I will be off somewhere else doing things with people and in situations that feel great!
4. CREATE A DAILY PRACTICE THAT SERVES YOUR LIFE.
“When you surrender and accept the beautiful stillness around you, when you give up all thoughts of the past, all worries and anxieties of the future, when you surround yourself with similarly positive people, when you tame the mind, when you keep healthy, there is zero chance of burnout.” James Altucher p.51 Choose Yourself.
Altucher has a lot of great suggestions on how to create an effective daily practice on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. Everything from taking daily walks, getting to bed early, reading a ton, taking quiet time every day, constantly choosing yourself.
He has a lot of ideas on this and I encourage you to check out his book to discover this topic in more detail.
I also know it is essential to have a daily routine that feeds and fuels all areas of your life and this is something I am constantly honing for myself. This can take time to develop, but with intention and focus, there is no reason that you need to be burnt out.
I currently have a morning practice of 20 mins meditation, drinking 1 litre of water and journalling for 20 minutes. You need to choose a practice that works for you and DO IT.
5. COME UP WITH 10 IDEAS A DAY.
“Set a goal: I’m going to come up with ten ways I can have more time for myself. Or I’m going to come up with ten ways I can make my job better…. You need to make the mind SWEAT so that it gets tired.” James Altucher p.50 Choose Yourself.
I just love this idea, because it really helps you to shift from that victim, poor me type place and instead really help you to come up with inventive ideas on how to make your life better or how to change a current situation. One of the issues with burnout is not being in a place of your own personal power. So, I fully endorse any practice that helps to shift you into this place.
Altucher does stress that there will be many bad ideas in the bunch, but if you come up with enough ideas, day after day, there will definitely be some great ones in there 🙂 .
Altucher’s writing is not for the faint hearted. He truly says it how he sees it. But he has one of the most refreshing views on life and health and wellness that I have heard in a long time. This is not just a book on burnout, this is a book on life, and I highly encourage you to check out all of what James has to say. Your life will forever be changed!!
Take what you will and leave what you want, but this man’s work is bound to ignite some spark inside of you, and from where I’m standing, that is going to keep your fire burning strongly.
Thanks James Altucher, appreciate your wisdom and insight.
Take care all and keep that fire burning brightly.